Jump to content



Chinese Take-Away

Recommended Posts

It was a hot night, the kind of humid evening that caused beads of perspiration to decorate the faces of even those in relative cool of the streets. Bandar Eban was like this too often, and the weather was made a hundred times worse by the heat coming from the large ovens in the kitchen of the Giggling Ass. Maicey wiped the sweat from her brow to no avail. The inn wasn't the most reputable, and with a name like the Giggling Ass she wasn't surprised, but the Innkeeper gave her good honest work, which counteracted the sometimes rowdy crowd. And the crowd wasn't all that bad, given the reputation the place had for it's brilliant native cuisine. People from all over came just for the food, and stayed for the ale and pretty girls. Not that anyone really noticed the small Saldaean next to the lush beauty of the Domani. They were all tall and willowy and lithe, whereas Maicey was, well, short, curvy and not all that graceful and simpering and bronzed. She made a face. She had been too long in this humid pit of glorious flowers.


Leaving the kitchen with a plate in each hand was a relief from the blinding heat, though the press of bodies certainly kept it warm in the room. Winding her way between tables, Maicey found herself on the receiving end of several fumbling gropes, but easily deterred them with a quick step and an easy smile and delivered the plates to two appreciative men wielding sursa with practised ease. Maicey still hadn't managed to completely master the blasted sticks, thinking them more a form of Domani torture than eating utensils. She declined the offer to join them with a laughing rebuttal and moved away to serve other customers.


She was just returning from another foray into the kitchens when she sensed a change in the room. It was subtle, just a slight hush near the doorway. Turning to see, Maicey found herself staring at a man clothed all in black, including a coat. Light, he must be sweltering! Maicey was not dressed after the Domani fashion, wearing a somewhat faded rose coloured dress that laced up the front, over a simple white chemise. Because of the heat, she had left the laces loose at the top of her gown, revealing a hint of her charms, but this man had his coat buttoned up to his chin, and two silver pins caught the light on his collar. A lord, perhaps? He certainly didn't look like a foppish, preening Domani dandie, instead he seemed to ooze a silent power. Maicey understood why the people around him hushed without even realising it, and how he managed to procure a table on his own, despite the crowded room. Dangerous, she thought. But in control.


Suddenly his eyes collided with Maicey's as she continued to stare, causing her breath to catch in her throat and a blush to stain her cheeks. Curses, why couldn't he behave boorishly like those around him, instead of just stare at her in that manner, nothing revealed on his face save a slight upturning at the corner of his mouth, as though he smiled inwardly. Despite her better judgement, Maicey was intrigued by him. A hand snaking around her waist from behind drew her attention and Maicey jumped, whirling to slap the offender's hand away. Innocent, tepid grabs she could handle, but she would not be manhandled by a drunken lout. "Watch yourself or I'll have you thrown out on your ear!" She snapped at the man, pushing him so he toppled easily back into his chair, the smell of gin strong on his breath. Ugh.


Maicey moved on, only to find her gaze drawn back to the mysterious man in black. Letting out a small yelp, Maicey blushed and turned away again when she found him still looking in her direction. He had caught her staring! Or maybe he was just pleased with what he saw...Maicey nearly scoffed out loud at that thought. She barely held anyone's attention, not with the beauties on display in their barely opaque dresses. Unless he hadn't been looking at her? Risking a glance over her shoulder, Maicey saw him glance around the room before returning to her again. Oh. He was signalling her to come over, which was only natural for a patron that wanted some service, with all the tavern maids occupied. Blood and ashes but she was a fanciful fool. Tucking a stray near black lock of hair back into her rather dishevelled bun, Maicey again wiped her face on a sleeve and moved over to assist the man.


How did he not look overheated, like everyone else? He wasn't even sweating! Maicey hid her surprise and greeted him with a smile. Master Toern was insistent all his girls smiled at the customers and suffered their clumsy pats and lewd jokes. "Can I get you anything, my lord?"




Link to post
Share on other sites

Covai nodded. "Two bowls please. One chicken, one beef. And some wine. Master Toern should have some of his better stock behind the counter." Covai flicked the girl a gold coin stamped with the flame of Tar Valon. He hated carrying money marked from that blasted place, but gold was gold. Besides, what else had he expected to win gambling there? He supposed he just be glad he made it out without being chased by some cranky old laidies, or Aes Sedai as they liked to call themselves.


Idly brushing his cloak behind him as he sat down, Covai's eyes kept scanning the room. It seemed to be a usual night's affair at the Giggling Ass. A whole bunch of giggling from the serving girls and a whole bunch of men grabbing at their arse. Covai couldn't say he blamed them though. Domani women were known for making men run around in circles and laugh at them for doing so. The men meanwhile, well they usually seemed to think they were impressed by their athletic capabilities. Judging by the majority of the men in the room though, Covai figured a beer mug was about the heaviest thing they could lift, at least at this hour of the night.


Nodding a small smile in thanks as his food arrived, Covai found himself disappointed to be served by a Domani women. His smile nearly broke into a laugh when he realised how absurd his situation was. Disappointed by a Domani? Light, he'd better not let Arath know about that, or the man would just as likely swap his wine for the Black Tower's own supply. Not something he looked forward to, that was for certain. Covai deflected her 'graces' politely and reached for the sursa sticks they supplied for eating. Covai loved the taste and style of the food here, but he still wasn't convinced the blasted sticks weren't just an inside joke at visitors expense.


"Speaking of wine though..." Covai noticed the young saldean girl rumaging behind the counter after talking to Master Toern. His table afforded him a good view of the room, despite being on the opposite side from the kitchens. The corner had also been raised slightly above the rest of the floor, whether that was to act as a dividing line or just how the place had been built he wasn't sure. Still, it made sure he could keep his eyes on the door, and anybody entering would have their back to him, or at least their side. At the moment Covai found himself admiring the view behind the counter.


He had noticed her almost from the moment he had entered the room. Whether it was the fact that she stood a good foot shorter than the ususal serving girls, or the fact she had blushed when their eyes had met, he couldn't say. Light, Covai mumbled as he started on his beef bowl, annoyedly stabbing one of the slices of meat that refused to cooperate. Be honest, he thought to himself you caught her staring at you and you know it"


Turning is attention back to the food as he saw the girl prepare the wine on a tray, Covai stabbed at another piece of meat. Raising his eyes and the sound of footsteps, it only took a glance at the two men for them to turn and look for another table. He normally wasn't one for using his position for personal benefit. Burn it! Covai thought. Most of the woolhead fools here would bolt out the door if they knew who, or what i was...


The sound of a bottle shattering on the ground brought his attention. The two men and bumped into the Saldean behind them and knocked the tray from her hands. Covai stood up and the men quickly ran off, barely even offering an apology to her. Covai was more worried about her though. Worried?? The thought breifly flashed across Covai's mind as he made his way over.


Kneeling down beside her as another one of the serving girls was cleaning up the mess, Covai saw her foot was covered in red. It was hard to tell whether she had cut herself or it was just the wine. Placing his hand on her shoulder, Covai held back from delving her. It was impolite to channel on somebody without permission, and the girl looked a bit shaken up as it was. Being this close the a male channeler would probably send her jumping through the roof, despite her small height.


"Are you alright?" Covai kept his voice firm, but without an edge to it. He had seen worse wounds and kept his cool, and dropped drink wasn't going to shake him

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually speaking to the man did nothing to affect her curiosity, in fact she found she was more intrigued than ever. Everything about him was dark and mysterious, from his clothing, to his hair and those deep brown eyes that seemed to draw you in, leaving you drowning in their depths. Maicey blinked and dropped her eyes. Mother's milk in a cup, what was wrong with her? "Right away, my lord." She stammered, snatching the gold coin out of the air with habitual coordination and nigh on running away from him. Get a grip, she berated herself as she was met by the overwhelming heat of the kitchens once more. She was behaving like girl after seeing her first handsome boy - like a flaming idiot.


Distracting Master Toern from an argument with the Head Cook - a regular occurrence - Maicey explained the stranger's request for some of the better wine. A quick look out into the common room and Master Toern started hounding Maicey, demanding she give him only the best. The wine she had never seen him give anyone else before. He must be important. Leaving as the kitchen stirred to an even higher frenzy to acquiesce the wishes of their guest, Maicey set about fetching the wine.


Who could possibly be important enough to warrant bringing out Master Toerns vintage Murandian red? Maicey puzzled over it as she found the right bottle, hidden behind the counter lest anyone sell it by mistake. He didn't deny being a lord...perhaps he was actually royalty? Not Domani though, in fact she didn't think he had the look of the borderlands to him, though light knew he appeared hard enough. How would old Toern know a royal anyway? Maicey mentally shrugged as she collected a clean goblet, polishing the silver finish to a shine on her half apron before placing both bottle and goblet on a tray and moving back out into the fray to deliver the wine.


Mere steps away from her goal, everything came undone. Two inconsiderate louts made to brush past her, but instead knocked her and jostled the tray to the floor with a crash. Glass and wine sprayed in every direction, saturating the bottom of Maicey's skirt and feet. Several shards of glass pricked her skin, but she paid them no heed as she surveyed the horrific scene. Maicey stared at the ground, wide-eyed, watching the blood red wine spread further across the floorboards. "Master Toern is going to kill me," she breathed. The man in black moved beside her, bending to help with the mess. Light, she'd even managed to get drops of wine on his boots, she noticed distractedly. "He's really going to kill me."


Maicey dropped to her knees, picking up shards of glass with shaking fingers, causing several more nicks on her hands. A firm hand on her shoulder made her look up, straight into those fathomless dark eyes she'd been mooning over only minutes before. She blinked, staring, before realising he had spoken to her. "Pardon?"


"I asked if you were alright."


"Oh. I don't know." Maicey blinked again, clear blue eyes slightly dazed. She looked away, taking in the mess and the very expensive bottle of wine staining the wooden floor. She wouldn't be able to afford to replace it in a year. In ten even, knowing Master Toern's taste. He would have to let her go. And then what would she do? She had nothing to her name save several work dresses, no family, few friends. For all she know, that monster that had 'won' her was still looking for her. Maicey looked at her hands and rubbed at a small cut, smearing blood over her finger. She didn't really notice. What was a cut when her life was over, yet again? "No, I don't think I am." She whispered. "Master Toern will let me go...I'll be lucky if he doesn't whip me before he kicks me out..." Hurriedly Maicey clamped her mouth shut on what was likely turning into a whiny tirade. She must think positive, she reprimanded herself. She had survived thus far, she could start again. "I will be fine." She said with some conviction, despite the fact that it was getting harder to ignore the tiny pricks of pain in her hands and ankles.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Covai could tell when somebody was lying. Not so much to him, but to themselves. This girl had it written all over her face. Covai doubted she had seen more than a score of summers, but from his postion next to her he could see she had still....grown. Diverting his eyes from the undone laces at the top of her pale dress, he could see she was still twitching a little from where she had been injured. It was most likely nerves more than anything, but small shards had a way of crippling a person if they weren't delt with properly. He could still remember a Dedicated from Sheinar who had lost the use of a foot after a training accident. The man's pride had kept him from seeking out healing after a pitfall weave went wrong. Though he had gotten most of the dirt out of the wound, a week later the foot had to be take off. Dalinarius had explained to him later that a few chips of stone had stayed stuck and slowed been rubbing away and causing the foot to bleed internally. Stupid borderlander pride.


Mumbling something intelligible to himself, Covai took the woman's arm and placed it over his shoulder. Stepping in front of her, ignoring the noise his boots made as the crushed a shard of the bottle beneath him, Covai hoisted the woman on his back, supporting her with his hands tucked under her rear. Resisting an amused grin at the small yelp of indignation and surprise, Covai could feel her bury her face against his back. "Light", the woman was too embarrased to even put up a resistance. For a Saldean, that was saying something.


"Master Covai, I..." Toern has made his way over at the sound of the noise. The man looked almost as flusted as the girl, but a damn sight more angry. "I apologise for the stupid mistake the woolheaded girl made. If you would just..."


"And since when did you start hiring woolheaded girls at your inn Toern?" Covai's question cut through the man's flustering. His voice carried the same firm tone it had before, and despite not having an edge to it, managed to slice through the commotion with little difficulty. "The wine was paid for, so the girl owes me, not you." Covai could feel the girl tense up against him but ignored it. "Accident thought it may have been"


Tapping the Domani women already cleaning up the mess with his foot, as his hands were occupied, Covai asked "You able to take care of this mess?" The woman nodded in response, surprisingly quiet. Maybe it was Master Toern standing over her, or the fact they had started to make a scence. Eitherway though, it didn't matter. The crowed parted away for Covai has he headed for the door. He knew the girl in the pale dress must have looked resting against the black of his robe, but he didn't care. He also didn't care to think of what others thought he meant when he said the girl owed him for the wine.


Stepping outside into the street, Covai was grateful it wasn't crowed. True, it was probably past the midnight hour, but even so, taverns and inns often went until daybreak when there were still paying customers. He knew there were some in the larger cities like this that never closed. "Guess that might make the the Black Tower it's own city then...." Covai pushed the thought from his mind for the moment. He had other things to worry about. Like getting the girl somewhere private he could treat her wounds.


Heading of to the left, Covai set off away from the docks. The establishements inland were of a higher class, and despite the higher price, offered a lot more quiet and privacy. Jostling the girl on his back a little to make sure she was still awake, Covai spoke, quiet enough that nobody passing in the street would overhead them. "Hey, you doing alright back there?"

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Create New...